In a country where patriots have become scarce commodities; where all you see, hear of and behold are war drum beaters; where erstwhile respected Nigerians have receded into their ethnic and ethno-religious enclaves, as ethnic warlords; these great Nigerians of Northern extraction luminously stood out in their life time.
In this pantheon of rare Northern breeds are few that are still alive: Bishop Kukah; Colonel Dangiwa Umar; Senator Shehu Sani; Com. Yerima Shettima; Dr. Yunusa Tanko and Nasiru Kura. They are quite few and in-between. That is why losing Balarabe Musa and Junaid Mohammed, particularly hurts me. They were soulmates with whom (especially Junaid), we regularly exchanged notes about the directionlessness of our otherwise great country, and its daily incremental sinking into a cesspool of nadir and on the precipice.
Balarabe Musa was elected Governor of Kaduna State in 1979, under the platform of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) founded by Mallam Aminu Kano, Balarabe (85) had soulmates in others within the same PRP – Dr Yusufu Bala Usman (of blessed memory), Sabo Barkin Zuwo (who later became Governor), Dr Michael Imoudu (famed labour leader), Abubakar Rimi (later Governor), Sule Lamido (later Governor), Uche Chukwumerije (later Minister), Chinua Achebe (epic Essayist of “Things Fall Apart” and “Trouble with Nigeria” fame); and Abdullahi Aliyu Sumaila. His reign as Governor was rudely cut short by a most controversial impeachment, instigated by the then NPN Federal Government. An Accountant by profession, Balarabe never ceased to belly-ache over Nigeria’s problems, till he breathed his last.
At various rallies at the tombs of late Chief M.K.O Abiola and his bestially murdered wife, Kudirat, Musa, even in his old age, bemoaned Nigeria’s increasing problems. He was passionate about Nigeria as an entity. Thus, when tears had barely dried over his demise, that of Dr Junaid Mohammed emerged.
Dr Junaid Mohammed
Former House of Representatives member, under PRP, which he co-founded with Aminu Kano in 1976, this fiery, social critic of the Muhammadu Buhari wobbling regime, also germinated from Aminu Kano’s school of thought. Junaid is better remembered, not for his stethoscope as an accomplished medical doctor, but for his principled political activism which was ideologically driven. His was not the run-of-the mill bread-and-butter-politics of “Amalaism” or “stomach infrastructure”. Intellectually grounded and fiercely patriotic, Dr. Mohammed never cared about whose ox was gored, whenever he took on national issues. But, for Nigeria’s politics of money-baggism and lack of ideology, the joint ticket of Donald Duke and Junaid Mohammed in the Social Democratic Party (SDP), during the 2019 presidential election, would probably have saved Nigeria from its current travails of a journey to no destination. In one of his last outings before he died, Junaid agreed with Bishop Kukah (fiery and outspoken Cleric) that Buhari was nepotistic and sectional in his appointments, 99% of which Junaid said were not based on merit, but on his “friends, cronies, relations and in-laws”. His light also dimmed, when we needed him the most.
For Balarabe Musa and Junaid Mohammed, may Allah grant them Alijanah Firdausi, Amin.
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
“One of the things I believe strongly in, is developing institutions – legal, press, bureaucracies, academies – that are rooted in the pursuit of impartial truth. That aren’t simply just bent to partisan ends, or are corrupted for the powerful, or for other ulterior motives.” (David Grann).